How often should you be painting your walls? If you're a fan of color in the home you might shake up your paint ideas more often than most, but even if you're not opting for a new shade, your walls will need a refresh every now and then. But how regularly should you really be redecorating?
Even if you're a staunch supporter of white walls only, you'll need to give them a fresh lick of paint to keep them looking clean and bright. And yet, we all know that painting a room isn't an easy task. Not only is it time consuming, but no-one want to go through the effort of shifting all that furniture around if it's not necessary.
Of course, there's no limitation to how often you should be repainting, and if you want to switch up your color every three months, be our guest! After all, we're never ones to say no to decorating. But to give you an idea of how often you ought to be doing so to keep your walls looking fresh, we've asked some experts for their professional insight.
How long does paint last on interior walls?
When we ask how long paint lasts, we're not talking entirely literally. In most cases, it will last as long as the walls themselves, bar some general fading or flaking overtime. What we mean to say is, 'how long do our walls stay fresh before they need redecorating?'
The answer isn't completely clear cut since this ultimately depends on a number of factors such as the quality of your paint, the conditions in your home, and whether the room is a high traffic area.
What's more, all paint will inevitably fade overtime due to exposure to sunlight. Ever taken down a picture to find a brighter patch of wall underneath? That's thanks to the sun's UV rays causing the surrounding paint to fade. This will be especially noticeable if your have a brighter color palette in south facing rooms, while a more understated neutral color scheme won't fade as noticeably.
'However, as a general rule of thumb, if painted correctly and effectively, there’s no reason why paint shouldn’t last between five and 10 years,' explains Chris Harvey, property, and interior expert at Stelrad. After this time, you're likely to notice discolored patches on your walls.
What factors affect how long your paint lasts?
While five to 10 years is generally a good window, there are some obvious factors that might cause you to repaint your walls more frequently.
Firstly, think about the room in question. Does it see a lot of activity, or is it room you use less often? 'The maintenance interval for your interior walls will depend largely on how much traffic you have in your home,' explains Matt Kunz, President of Five Star Painting. 'Entryways and hallways should be repainted every two to three years, whereas a bedroom may only need a new coat of paint every decade.'
Naturally, walls in mudrooms and entryways become scuffed far quicker than a bedroom. Likewise, functional spaces like the kitchen are frequently exposed to steam, grease and food spills which means you'll need to refresh the walls in here more regularly.
'The lifespan of interior paint jobs isn’t just about wear and tear, either. It can greatly vary depending on the quality of the initial prep work, the paint, and the application process,' adds Matt. 'This is why some homeowners find peeling walls or an uneven look after just a few years.' To prolong the longevity of your painted walls, don't skip out out on steps like proper drywall prep and using a quality primer - this heavy-duty primer on Amazon is ideal. Read our advice on how to paint a room to get these important steps right.
'As well as the condition of the room, the type of paint can contribute to how long paint will last,' says Chris. 'Oil-based paint is traditionally more durable and long-lasting while water-based paint is less durable.' Although we most commonly use water-based paints on our walls these days, the number of coats used will also have an impact the length of time it stays looking fresh. In general, two coats will promise a longer lasting paint job.
How often should you redecorate for fresh looking walls?
If you're not experimenting with new paint color ideas, it's best to repaint every three to five years to keep your walls looking fresh and bright. However, as we've mentioned, you might be able to get away with less often depending on the space. Here's a general guide for the main rooms in your home.
Your kitchen sees a lot. From grease splatters to steam and smoke, these will all build up on your walls over time. 'Kitchens should be repainted every four to five years to eliminate built-up from stains and odors,' says Matt. 'Don’t forget that these walls will need to be cleaned well before they’re painted.'
Entryway / hallways
'Since these spaces see the most traffic, they typically have the most scuff marks, scratches, and dings,' Matt explains. He advises painting them every two to three years to keep them clean and bright.
Baseboards and Trim
As Matt notes: 'Your baseboards bear the brunt of vacuums and foot traffic, so paint them every two to three years to maintain their appearance.' Door and window trim and crown molding won't require painting as often but you should stay on top of cleaning otherwise dust and dirt will accumulate.
It's not surprising that kids' bedrooms will need painting more often than your own, but they'll probably outgrow the color on the walls before they even have a chance to get too messy. 'The master bedroom and guest room can probably go about ten years without a new coat of paint,' Matt says. 'But, if you’re looking for a fresh look for your home, a splash of color is an inexpensive and easy way to go about it.'
According to Matt, ceilings typically don’t need to be repainted unless the room has sustained water or mold damage. 'However, if you’re repainting an entire room, a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling will help it match the sheen and look of the update you made,' he adds.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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